Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Reformation Women - Book Review

I have always enjoyed reading about the contributions of women in our Christian heritage, so I was excited to find Rebecca VanDoodewaard's Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity's Rebirth, which she wrote specifically to include those lesser known figures whose contributions were pivotal during the Reformation.

The twelve biographical sketches in this volume are rich with detail and intrigue. In it you will find women from many different walks of life, from those who lived in poverty, neglect, and banishment for the cause of Christ to queens who used their influence to further the cause of Christ and to protect believers from persecution.

Originally published as separate articles in the Reformed Church Magazine (1893-1895), they were then compiled into one volume, called Famous Women of the Reformed Church, by James Isaac Good. Rebecca has now further revised, expanded, and corrected his work in Reformation Women.

When Christian women today seem to be faltering about where they belong in the work of Christ's kingdom and church leaders are equally baffled with what to do about women who want to serve, the publication of this book couldn't have come at a better time. Younger and older women alike will benefit from reading it as they are challenged by the examples of others who lived through often perilous times. It encourages us to not be content with the status quo, but to seek ways to further the cause of Christ in our own sphere of influence, whatever that may be.

Furthermore, I appreciate how the author never elevates nor demeans women who worked alongside their husbands and children on the home front. Though often in obscurity, yet their works, as a light set on a hill, could not be hidden, and we are blessed and encouraged to follow in their footsteps with honor and dignity even if we never leave the sphere of our homes. Yet, those who are active in the workforce or in positions of leadership will also gain many insights into how to portray the love of Christ where they serve with those qualities unique to believing women. I would especially encourage high school aged women to read this book as they are seeking to discern God's plan for their lives, and it would make an excellent graduation gift.